HAZEL PARK (WWJ) – A 28-year-old woman who was stopped for driving the wrong-way on I-75, with a toddler unsecured in the back seat, has pleaded guilty to drunk driving and other charges.
Tonya Berta, from Ida, is expected to be sentenced March 13 after pleading guilty to charges of operating while intoxicated with an occupant under 16, operating while intoxicated second-offense, second-degree child abuse, and resisting/assaulting/obstructing an officer.
The incident happened around 4:15 a.m. on Dec. 8 when police received several 911 calls about a driver heading northbound in the southbound lanes of I-75 near I-94 in Detroit. Michigan State Police troopers eventually spotted the vehicle as it passed 8 Mile Road and then caught up with the driver at the I-696 interchange in Royal Oak, where the vehicle was finally stopped.
When troopers made contact with the driver, Berta, “she appeared intoxicated,” said Lt. Mike Shaw. “They conducted their roadside tests and she was arrested for drunk driving.”
After putting Berta in the back of a squad car, troopers went back to search her vehicle — and that’s when they made a startling discovery. Shaw said troopers heard coughing sounds, observed movement in the back seat, and discovered a 17-month-old boy under a pile of clothes and blankets, and partially under the seat.
The child, who was uninjured, was turned over to Child Protective Services. Officials haven’t released the child’s relationship to Berta.
Berta’s blood alcohol content has not been released.